Outstanding students build skills for future

When Suzana Barde found out she was named the University of Houston-Victoria School of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student, she couldn’t believe it.

Suzana Barde

“I was screaming and laughing when I read the letter,” Barde said. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to earn this honor and to my family and friends for supporting me.”

Barde hails from the Mumbai area of India and currently lives in Houston. John James Edwards of Victoria was named the school’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student. Edwards is double majoring and will receive Bachelor of Science degrees in computer science and mathematics.

Each semester, professors from UHV’s three schools select outstanding graduates to be honored during commencement. UHV will hold fall commencement at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane in Katy. Live streaming of the ceremony can be seen at

Jeffrey Di Leo

“Suzana and John are two examples of the excellent students we are fortunate to have at UHV,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the school. “Their work and focus on attaining excellence has earned the respect of their peers and recognition from their instructors. I am proud to see them receive these awards.”

On Saturday, Barde will earn her Master of Science in computer information systems. She hopes to find a job in the U.S. and apply for a work permit before eventually returning to India.

When she was looking for a future career, Barde wasn’t interested in biology or being a doctor, but she liked working with computers. She majored in computers as an undergraduate in India, and she wanted to earn her graduate degree in the U.S. because there’s better technology available, she said.

When she first came to the U.S., she heard about the UH System from her cousin, who graduated from the University of Houston. Barde took the opportunity to visit the UH Sugar Land Campus, where she spoke with a UHV counselor.

Ricardo Teixeira

“UHV has been very good to me,” she said. “The students who became my friends and all of the professors were welcoming and encouraging. With their support, I am able to graduate with good grades and experience that will help me find a career.”

Barde wants to work in cloud computing, which involves creating cloud storage networks and systems for companies. She has been working with UHV Career Services to polish her resume and apply for job openings. The outstanding student award is another honor she can add to her resume.

When the School of Arts & Sciences was looking for nominations for the Outstanding Undergraduate Student, Edwards was a natural choice to nominate, said Ricardo Teixeira, a UHV assistant professor of mathematics and director of the mathematics and core curriculum programs.

“I nominated John Edwards because he is outstanding in so many levels: academically, socially and professionally,” Teixeira said. “His performance in hard, upper-division courses is beyond outstanding.”

Jerry Hu

Besides being academically successful, Edwards also contributes to the university in several other ways, Teixeira said. He works as a math tutor, is an active member of UHV’s Math and Science Club, and he often helps his classmates.

In addition to his academic success and involvement, both Teixeira and Jerry Hu, an assistant professor of mathematics, said Edwards’ understanding of advanced mathematics concepts made him stand out.

“John is the best math major student in recent years,” Hu said. “He took several upper-division math courses with me and consistently maintained very strong A averages in my classes and perfect scores on most assignments and exams. He gave two presentations on Algebraic Geometry as part of the university’s undergraduate math seminar. It is impressive that as an undergraduate, he can understand hard subjects like algebraic geometry and give clear presentations about it.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.